After Attack, Iraq Bans US Security Firm

Baghdad blames civilian deaths on Blackwater, threatens prosecution
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 17, 2007 11:45 AM CDT
Blackwater USA employees receive instruction along a make-shift street scene before practicing a vehicle ambush response drill, in this Feb. 20, 2004, file photo, on Blackwater's land near Moyock, N.C....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Iraqi government has revoked an American security contractor's license to do business in the country and is weighing criminal charges against employees who allegedly opened fire on civilians yesterday, the AP reports. Blackwater USA personnel were escorting a State Department convoy through Baghdad when they opened fire, killing eight civilians and wounding 13, an interior ministry spokesman said.

The shooting is still under investigation, but officials said foreign contractors would be prosecuted if they used excessive force. Security firms are unpopular among Iraqis, and the ban is sure to boost support for PM Nouri al-Maliki. It wasn't clear whether the license revocation was temporary or permanent, and Blackwater officials were not available for comment.